The Barceló Flamingo hotel is a convenient ten minute taxi ride from Palma airport, which is happily far enough away not to be troubled by aircraft noise. It is literally a stones throw from the beach (where sunloungers can be hired for €4.10 per day) and local amenities are right on the doorstep.
The hotel has a clean contemporary style and the bedrooms are modern and well equipped. The staff can come across as a little aloof and uncommunicative, but are generally helpful and efficient. The buffet food is acceptable canteen fayre, i.e. a plentiful supply of indeterminate meat in salty gravy, but we found it too bland and opted to eat out most evenings.
The local eateries are rather basic, but we found some gems such as MG Cafe, Dino Café mini-golf grill (don’t let the name put you off) and the excellent Asadito Argentinian restaurant on Avinguda son Rigo. I recommend the entrecôte for two – mmm 😛
All the other occupants during our 7 night stay were German, which I actually quite enjoyed as I didn’t understand their mundane conversations and so consequently filtered out most of it as background noise, but unfortunately the all too true cliché about towels on sunloungers was evident and it was a case of ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ and an early morning start to secure a spot by the pool.
Playa de Palma was sadly a disappointment. The beach is beautiful with soft golden sand, the sea is warm and clear, but the entire resort is overrun with inconsiderate German football louts hell bent on making as much noise as humanly possible – at all times of the day and all through the night.
I’m no xenophobe, perhaps it was just the time of year, but don’t expect calm and tranquility. The otherwise soothing sounds of waves on the beach are continually interrupted by euro pop beats and a cacophony of Germanic shouting and chanting. I recommend a set of quality headphones (such as the Sony Fontopia) if you want any respite from the terrace tribalism.
The local police presence on the seafront is considerable (cars, vans, motorcycles, bikes and golf carts!) and a highly visible and effective deterent I’m sure, as despite the heavy concentration of bier fuelled young men, we did not witness any trouble.
In conclusion, the Barceló Flamingo is a fine hotel with a convenient beach front location. But have no illusions, you will be staying in the middle of a tacky German theme park. If you have a desire for bratwurst and bierkellers then this is for you, otherwise you would be well advised to select an alternative destination.
There’s some very good news today for those Brits – and Germans – who are infuriated by the practice of “reserving” sun loungers by creeping out at 4am and leaving towels on them: the practice is not legally binding and any “British tourist would be quite within their legal rights to ignore the reservation implied by the towels if there is nobody there”.
That is according to German lawyer Ralf Höcker, who enlightened the Guardian as to the delicious legal truth. His sun lounger judgement is published in his forthcoming “New Dictionary of Popular Legal Errors”, which also records that leaving your coat on a pub chair or attempting to “reserve” a vacant parking spot for future occupation, are equally dodgy.
Höcker said: “The towel thing is not such a big deal in Germany, but I have to say that the stereotype is true – German people do reserve all the loungers. It’s also worth saying that it also infuriates some German people.
“There is a certain type of German tourist who does it, the same type who when they are on the beach builds a little wall with shelves and so on to protect their spot.”